As regular Tile Addict’s followers know, I do enjoy a good restaurant-related tile story. So, when pioneering Italian Chef and culinary rock ‘n’ roller, Alessandro Borghese, made Neolith the material of choice for his hotly anticipated restaurant Il lusso della semplicità (The Luxury of Simplicity) in Milan, Italy, it was food and drink for Diary of a Tile Addict. Borghese wanted to use this sintered stone to amplify his colourful, dynamic and fast-paced approach to cooking, encapsulating his flamboyant personality and cosmopolitan location.
A desire for originality and an admiration for the surface’s versatility irresistibly drew Borghese to Neolith. In particular, he was impressed by its adaptability and how it seamlessly integrates within a specific environment, subtly adding character and individuality to a space.
Used throughout the 700 sq,. metre restaurant, a deliberate and considered mix of tones and contrasts was applied. This included wood (Neolith La Boheme), marble (Neolith Calacatta and Blanco Carrara BC01 and Onyx), metal (Neolith Iron Corten) and granite (Neolith Nero Zimbabwe). This evoked the atmosphere of the golden age of the 1930s transatlantic cruise liner with a signature Borghese twist.
This decision reflects a greater appetite amongst hospitality designers for stone which mimics natural materials while also using opposing surface textures in conjunction to create a multi-sensory experience.
Neolith Calacatta Silk was specified for the bar worktops, a colour fast becoming a go-to choice for professional chefs for its aesthetics as much as its practicality. Calacatta was also used for the restaurant walls, bathroom vanities, and the stairs.
Chef Borghese can now plate his adventurous culinary inventions straight onto the surface without the danger of staining or tainting the stone. “If I was a painter,” says Borghese, “Neolith would be my canvas.”
Taking this concept one step further the restaurant also uses smaller, bespoke-cut pieces of Neolith as plates for tapas-style dishes. The small plates, which combine delicate food on an elegant backdrop, are a real hit with Il lusso della semplicità’s diners.
Commenting on the use of Neolith in his restaurant, Borghese says: “Cooking is definitely the new rock ‘n’ roll. A glamorous industry with universal appeal where accomplished performance is essential to success. The cooking might be exceptional but the restaurant and what goes into it needs to reflect the high standards of the cuisine. I was attracted to Neolith for its variety of sublime colours and patterns, as well as an admiration of the skill and care behind its production. Like me, Neolith seeks perfection, offering an ideal stage on which to bring my vision to life and let my imagination run wild!”
A new post by Joe Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, January 2018.